OC Review: Ootoro Sushi, Irvine

The chef reaches over the sushi counter and places a bowl in front of each of us. The bowls are filled with ice, topped with the live shrimp he has just dismantled. The shrimp are huge, like mutants. Their dismembered heads and bodies sit side by side, a couple of inches apart but still very much alive.

Review: Acre, farm-to-table in San Jose del Cabo

Fat drips from a fifty-pound hog, splashing onto the fire. Sparks flicker into the hot Mexican air. The pig has been roasting over the mesquite embers since sunrise. The temperature outside is already sweltering, made even hotter by the blistering rotisserie, which is cranked by hand, inch-by-inch, throughout the day. By 5 p.m., as the …

Quick Look: Mar Adentro, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

There’s a stunningly beautiful new hotel opening in Los Cabos. It’s called Mar Adentro, and it is currently in its soft-opening phase. The resort is designed (and owned) by Miguel Angel Aragones, one of Mexico’s most incredible architects. Here’s a quick look around. Exterior views: Standard king room: Restaurants and public spaces: The beach: Evening …

What to eat (or not) at the Orange County Fair

My first strategy at the OC Fair was to follow the smoke. Where there’s smoke, there will also be good food. Or so it usually goes. I spotted the beef tri-tips smoldering on a grill. They looked awesome. They looked like real Santa Maria barbecue. I immediately got in line and ordered the tri-tip sandwich. It was gross…

Best Thing I Ate This Week: Salade Nicoise

A lot has changed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach lately. For starters, it’s now just the Monarch Beach Resort, with a brand new, very beachy look throughout. The restaurant formerly known as Motif is now called Aveo, and that’s where I recently enjoyed one of the finest Nicoise salads I can recall.

O.C. Review: Sushi Hana re

The hostess sees me peeking through the window, so she opens the front door. “May I help you?” “Two for dinner?” I ask. I can see that almost every seat in the restaurant is already taken. “Just a moment,” she says. She walks across the very small room to whisper something to the chef. He …